Keeping Up with the Classics #9

THE STRAIGHT STORY - Walt Disney Pictures

As COVID-19 keeps all of us indoors, I've taken advantage of the time by viewing as many

films as humanly possible.

These are the films I viewed for the first time over the past week:

The Lovebirds (Dir. Michael Showalter, 2020) - Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae try to save this film but fail. I'll be kind and stop writing.

Original Cast Album: Company (Dir. D.A. Pennebaker, 1970) - D.A. Pennebaker's legendary documentary about the 18-hour recording session of the original cast album of Sondheim's COMPANY is as riveting as documentary cinema gets. Most never think about the creation of a Broadway cast recording, but ORIGINAL CAST ALBUM: COMPANY shows how much blood, sweat, and tears goes into that process.

Repeat Attenders (Dir. Mark Dooley, 2020) - Another theatre-related doc, REPEAT ATTENDERS explores the lives of theatergoers who see certain shows dozens, if not hundreds of times. While structurally a bit messy, this surprisingly endearing portrait is very effective at helping general audiences understand why these people do what they do.

Scream 2 (Dir. Wes Craven, 1997) - Just about as wickedly fun as the first, Wes Craven's unpredictable, suspenseful SCREAM 2 features some wildly clever set-pieces and successfully avoids sequelitis by engagingly expanding its world and its characters as well as further strengthening the filmmaking craft.

The Straight Story (Dir. David Lynch, 1999) - David Lynch's one G-rated Disney movie, THE STRAIGHT STORY, is a sensitive masterpiece about an ailing man (Richard Farnsworth in an Oscar-nominated performance) who travels hundreds of miles in his lawnmower to visit his brother who has just suffered a stroke. Lynch's vision is clear-eyed and affectionate (he still finds some trademark oddness in small-town American life), and he brings an emotional dimension to THE STRAIGHT STORY largely missing from his more adult, bizarre films. And Farnsworth gives a soulful performance for the ages. His eyes say more than a whole screenplay.